I have been following Leonard Nimoy on Twitter for quite some time since hearing that he was battling COPD, the same disease that my partner, Michael, is fighting. Although I was never a “Trekkie” I wanted to follow how he was dealing with this illness and hopefully gain some wisdom from his words. His posts on Twitter were always interesting…kind and gentle and they gave me comfort. A little over a year ago he invited his followers to become his honorary grandchildren. Leonard only requested that you send a message saying “YES” and you would be accepted into his honorary family. I sent a message immediately explaining that I had lost my own dear grandfather to COPD and that my partner had the same illness. I felt an uncanny comfort in knowing that I now had a new grandfather out in the world, even one that I had never met. I didn’t really understand the feelings I was experiencing, but I felt safer, protected somehow.
My own grandfather, Grandpa Jack, had died when I was in my early twenties leaving a gaping hole in my heart and my life. Losing my father as a young girl, my grandpa quickly became my hero, my role model. He became the man that I judged all other men by. His kindness, his generosity and wisdom became an almost impossible standard for any man to live up to.
And then fortune brought Michael back into my life, followed many years later by my new honorary grandfather. I couldn’t have been more delighted to have found there were actually two men that could compare to my grandfather. What was sad and ironic was that both were inflicted with the same terrible disease. What are the odds?
I delighted in “Grandpa Leonard’s” posts to his new family. The delight was no doubt shared by the hundreds, if not thousands of new grandchildren he had invited so graciously into his life.
Now he has left this world, as did my Grandfather Jack – both taken by this terrible, cruel disease. Only one of these three extraordinary men is left in my life and waiting, hopefully, for his second chance. We are praying that Michael beats the odds and has the opportunity to change lives and to mentor others as both of my grandfathers did before him.
I will miss Grandpa Leonard’s words of wisdom and his wit. It is a very special man that invites the entire world into his family. Live long and prosper, Grandfather. Your family will miss you terribly.